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“Motives for the Assassination”

Jan 28, 2011 at 4:18pm | Filed Under “The Conspirator

Motives for the Assassination
The public in 1865 had no trouble comprehending John Wilkes Booth's motive in striking at Lincoln and members of his administration...
from The Conspirator 14 comments


Feb 22, 2010 at 4:49pm | Filed Under “Hollywood History Showdown: Films

Ron Howard is no stranger to American history. Having found great success with APOLLO 13 and A BEAUTIFUL MIND, 2005's CINDERELLA MAN disappointed in its profits. So Howard went smaller. He looked to the stage and Peter Morgan's critically acclaimed play "Frost/Nixon."


  • AStudentofHistory
    06/29/2011 at 12:50pm


    Should Robert E. Lee have been tried for treason?
    Results so far:
    Yes 37% 372 votes Total: 1010 votes
    No 63% 638 votes
    My Published Article (Burgess Foster)
    "Robert E. Lee did resign as a Lt. Colonel in the Union Army prior to joing the CSA. However, he did lead an Army against a nation he swore to protect from both domestic and foreign enemies.
    He was personally responsible for ordering his army to kill Union soldiers who were defending their flag's honor. He was a graduate of Westpoint, but chose to fight against the nation that bestowed upon him honor.
    How can the American populace or hoi polloi defend somenoe who sought to utterly destroy their nation and support a man in Jefferson Davis who swore to overthrow the U.S. Government?
    He, as irony would have it, put down John Brown for raising a band against the U.S. and seizing an armory, when, consider this, the Confederates seized countless armories and raised an Army against the USA.
    State's rights does not obviate honor?
    U.S. Senator Ben.Wade (R-OH): "If there is any stain on the present Administration, it is that they have been weak enough to deal too leniently with those traitors. I know it sprung from goodness of heart; it sprung from the best of motives; but, sir, as a method of putting down this rebellion, mercy to traitors is cruelty to loyal men ..."

    from Slavery, race, and the assassination
  • RickS
    04/30/2011 at 10:40am



    What staunch Southron could ever forget Benjamin's celebrated "secession speech" from the floor of the U.S. Senate on December 31, 1860:

    “And now, senators, within a few weeks we part to meet as Senators in one common council chamber of the nation no more forever. We desire, we beseech you, let this parting be in peace. I conjure you to indulge in no vain delusion that duty or conscience, interest or honor, imposes upon you the necessity of invading our States or shedding the blood of our people. You have no possible justification for it. I trust it is no craven spirit, and with no sacrifice of the honor or dignity of my own State, that I make this last appeal, but from far higher and holier motives. If, however, it shall prove vain, if you are resolved to pervert the Government framed by the fathers for the protection of our rights into an instrument for subjugating and enslaving us, then, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the universe for the rectitude of our intentions, we must meet the issue that you force upon us as best becomes freemen defending all that is dear to man”.

    “What may be the fate of this horrible contest, no man can tell, none pretend to foresee; but this much I will say: the fortunes of war may be adverse to our arms; you may carry desolation into our peaceful land, and with torch and fire you may set our cities in flames; you may even emulate the atrocities of those who, in the war of Revolution, hounded on the blood-thirsty savage to attack upon the defenseless frontier; you may, under the protection of your advancing armies, give shelter to the furious fanatics who desire, and profess to desire, nothing more than to add all the horrors of a servile insurrection to the calamities of civil war; you may do all this - and more, too, if more there be - but you never can subjugate us; you never can convert the free sons of the soil into vassals, paying tribute to your power; and you never, never can degrade them to the level of an inferior and servile race. Never! Never!”

    [The Congressional Globe. Senate, 36th Congress, 2nd Session from December 6, 1860 to February 18, 1861 Page 217 of 992 pages The Official Proceedings of Congress. JC Rives & Co..]

    Then there's Benjamin's well-publicized 1863 "human cargo" speech when he was stumping in San Francisco to raise capital for the Confederacy in March of 1863:

    "I haven’t yet made up my own mind about our 'peculiar institution'”.

    [The New York Times. Published: April 1, 1863. Another Intercepted Rebel Dispatch. The Confederacy and the Slave Trade. Judah P. Benjamin’s Views]

    Last but not least, Stand Watie and the Cherokee Mounted Rifles fought for the Confederacy, as a result of the 1861 treaty between Cherokee Chief John Ross and Confederate General Albert Pike as follows:

    “When circumstances beyond their control compel one people to sever ties which have long existed between them and another state or confederacy, and to contract new alliances and establish new relations for the security of their rights and liberties, it is fit that they should publicly declare the reasons by which their action is justified…But in the Northern States the Cherokee people saw with alarm a violated constitution, civil liberty put in peril, and all rules of civilized warfare and the dictates of common humanity and decency unhesitatingly disregarded. Whatever causes the Cherokee people may have had in the past to complain of some of the southern states, they cannot but feel that their interests and destiny are inseparably connected to those of the south…Obeying the dictates of prudence and providing for the general safety and welfare, confident of the rectitude of their intentions and true to their obligations to duty and honor, they accept the issue thus forced upon them, unite their fortunes now and forever with the Confederate States, and take up arms for the common cause, and with entire confidence of the justice of that cause and with a firm reliance upon Divine Providence, will resolutely abide the consequences”.

    [Declaration By The People Of The Cherokee Nation Of The Causes Which Have Impelled Them To Unite Their Fortunes With Those Of The Confederate States Of America issued by Cherokee National Council dated October 28, 1861]

    Quite obviously, the Secretary of State of the Confederate States of America and the two principal Cherokee Chiefs were staking their fortunes upon other principles than those therein "Articles of Secession".

    from Slavery, race, and the assassination
  • RickS
    04/09/2011 at 11:58am


    In my forthcoming book "Dixie Reckoning: A Reassessment of the Lincoln Assassination and Lost Confederate Treasury" I make a case that there were actual two "crime{s} of the century" in the Civil War era from 1850 to 1880. In addition to assassination of Abraham Lincoln, there was also the "plundering" [Stanton's phrasing] of the Confederacy's Treasury. [not to be confused of course with the mythical Confederate "Treasure"]. What's not a well-known historical fact is that several countries or states, legal or otherwise, have defaulted on their bonds. Major all-time defaults are summarized as follows: China $90 million, Russia over $1.5 billion, Confederate States of America $712 million, Mexico $12 million, and the State of Mississippi $7 million. In closing, following the monies, motives, and movers and shakers is what Dixie Reckoning is all about.

    from Motives for the Assassination
  • tom_turner
    02/02/2011 at 6:27pm


    For a long time almost all American assassins were portrayed as deranged. They were also pictured as short, foreign born or first generation, people who had difficulty holding a job or having close relationships with either men or women. Modern historians have attacked this view as simplistic. I recommend James Clarke's, "American Assassins the Darker Side of Politics" which is an excellent corrective to this outdated view. Clarke argues and I agree that there were very few crazy assassins in American history; the three he cites being Richard Lawrence who attacked Andrew Jackson and who thought he was the king of England, Charles Guiteau who belived God had ordered him to kill James Garfield, and John Schrank who was motivated to shoot Teddy Roosevelt by William McKinley's ghost. Clarke calls Booth (along with Sirhan Sirhan, Leon Czolgosz, and the Puerto Rican Nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo who tried to kill Truman) political assassins. Any study of Booth makes it pretty clear that Booth liked slavery ("This country was made for the white man not the black") and was a strong Confederate supporter although not serving in the army. Most accounts indicate he had a fairly normal childhood; certainly had no trouble making friends of either sex; and he was a pretty successful actor in his own right particularly in the South. While I believe his main motivation was his Southern loyalty it is certainly possible that family jealousy or a desire for fame might have been secondary motives.

    from Motives for the Assassination

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